Adventures in Advaita Vedanta, the philosophy and science of spirit. We are one you and I; are you curious why?..


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Text; Vedanta In Action

Hari OM

Application - that is what 'Workings-days' are about!

This is the title of a publication from CM which, whilst it of course has items by Gurudev, also includes selections of writing from other esteemed Gurus from the Vedantic tradition as well as leading businessmen. Its focus is the working life. We shall be exploring these essays for the next few weeks on Workings-day as, clearly, they pertain directly to the premise of this section of AVBlog!

Image result for work life balanceWhich of us does not envisage a tranquil and ordered life in which there is good work-life balance? A surprising number of us find it very difficult to achieve as 'the world' endlessly clamours for our attention. In seeking a disciplined and pure life, we find that we are continuously presented with temptations and diversions; when we wish to study and contemplate, it seems that 'work/profession' and so on rise for priority over those more intimate pursuits. Best intentions are blown away by the demands of the external, particularly in professional life.

Yet, the working world can be the most exciting place for the practice of one's ideals. Selflessness is the highest ideal of all religions and where better can selflessness be practiced than in the midst of a demanding world?

Even the most contemplative of spiritual philosophies, Vedanta, recognises the importance of work. The question addressed in the Bhagavad Gita is not "should we work?" but "How should we work?" Ordinary selfish activity can be transformed into bright and inspired karma yoga when our attitude to work changes. Vedanta In Action discusses this change in attitude and the benefit it provide, not just to the individual practitioner, but the society also. What is Vedanta's relevance to the working person? Is it only useful in attaining an abstract state of Self-Realisation, with no practical use in daily life?

The moment the word "Vedanta" is mentioned by the average person, there is a tendency to picture a saint/sadhu sitting and meditating somewhere remote, or wandering the world without responsibility. There is then the thought that this type of life, if recommended by scripture, has no relevance to his life as worker and house-holder. Is this truly so, however? Certainly, the ultimate goal within Vedanta is that state of liberation, but this does not mean that there are no benefits for the engaged seeker to obtain en-route to that goal, or that those benefits cannot help improve daily life. Self-Realisation is not simply an accidental experience; it is the culmination of a life lived intelligently and made progressively freer from the chains of bondage that are self-imposed on us by our inherent vaasanas and consequent discontentment.

Are not greater freedom and happiness the aim of each human being, regardless of his or her geographical location?

The entire scheme of Vedanta is to make Man progressively happier and contented in daily living, so that spiritual unfoldment will take place within, almost by automation. Inculcating its teachings, with daily absorption in small doses, transforms us.

As longs as we are alive we come into contact with the external world. It is inevitable. If there is dexterity in meeting the world, with quick decisions, firm will and equanimity, no situation in life can break us or enslave us. The technique of self-mastery expounded in all the great books of true living advises that  we not escape from life, but engage in intelligent living. This requires a diligent and alert attitude. In every walk of life, at all times, we must make use of the ever-changing patterns and challenges to hone our self-taming skills and, in so doing, discover that the world becomes tamer also. The system is so pure and if applied well, can elevate the basest person to the status of perfection.

Vedanta advises; let each of us try to fulfil our duties as best we can, in a spirit of detachment, with joy and dedication. The more we work in this attitude, the more we are released from our inhibitions, repressions and other such entanglements of the emotion. A new force, a fresh stream of strength, shall reach us and we will find at the end of the 'play', whether won or lost, that we have grown stronger, healthier and fuller in our personality.

Never fear. Never hesitate.

In whatever field we work, we must use it as an opportunity to polish our inner character. All work is noble when undertaken in the right spirit of selflessness and detachment. All such noble work slowly but surely leads the worker into the new realms of joy, fulfilment and perfection.

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Hari OM
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